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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
The Mote in God's Eye
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on 8 June 2016
I read this book years ago and it still surprised me, I won't bother with the plot but I found the twists and characters believable and full of genuine suspense. Intriguing look at first contact, dated in some parts due to today's fast moving technology but still a riveting read and reminds me why I bought so many Larry Niven novels over the years.
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on 16 March 2017
The best syi fi novel from these paired authors i'd ever read parts one and two. a must for any reader of science fiction -
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on 16 April 2017
My favourite scifi book now in Kindle format!! Excellent!!
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on 7 August 2017
just what it should be.
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on 9 January 2017
I read a lot of Niven's books when I was younger. On an impulse I decided to read this again. I wish I hadn't bothered.
The writing style and the plot are extremely childish. Others have given negative reviews and been criticised for lack of detail. I'll try to give a few specific examples - but there is SO wrong with this book!

The characters are incredibly two-dimensional. The ship's captain has an old scar on his nose that he strokes when he is thinking or troubled - that's the authors' idea of "character". There is a Russian admiral who talks perfect English except for omitting "a" and "the" plus throwing in an occasional "da". Being Russian, he is gruff all the time. There is a merchant who is a muslim. He goes around saying things like "beard of the prophet" all the time. Also being a merchant he only ever thinks about money. There are various Scots characters with silly accents, no doubt based on Scotty from Star Trek. All these accents and racial stereotypes despite being set a thousand years in the future when humans live all over the Galaxy!

There is only one female character. She is repeatedly described as "demure". She also giggles a lot. Eventually she falls in love with one of the male characters. The way they talk to each other had me cringing. It was like the book was written by a 12 year old schoolboy.

Also there are big differences between human and alien reproduction. She explains human birth control to the aliens, but informs them that "nice girls don't do that". Yes, really!!! The authors hide behind the idea that the cultures of some human planets are quite prudish - but you get the distinct sense throughout that it is THEY who are like overgrown teenagers in this regard. It was written in the 70s but the values are more like the 50s or earlier.

The writing grated in all sorts of ways. One thing was that no one ever smiles - they alway "grin". This is especially bizarre when a character "grins" secretly to themselves! Likewise no one ever seems to speak calmly. They always "snarl", "growl", "sneer" etc. Even when discussing banal topics. "Feral" expressions abound. It was like they had used a thesaurus to make their writing more "interesting" without really understanding the words they use.

The plot itself is pretty daft. It includes absurdities like a crew member allowing some alien creatures to escape (from a totally unguarded room!!!) then worrying whether or not to "bother" the captain about it because they are "only pets".

I slogged on to the end. I wished I hadn't bothered. This really is bad.
FYI - I also ordered a copy of The Integral Trees. The writing is sometimes a bit annoying [and his descriptions of anything to do with women or sex are awful] but is is MUCH better than this.
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on 13 February 2017
I liked Ringworld, it was entertaining with some good imagery and ideas. Large chunks of this book, however, I just found tedious. I can almost forgive the blatant sexism and dated ideas, it's of its time, but there is enough padding in this book to insulate a loft. The basic story is an ok idea, not much original, but ok. Some of the conversations though read like they were being paid by the word, they go nowhere. The 'characters', and I use the term loosely, are corny comic book cliches, and I really couldn't give a damned about any of them. There was no sense of peril. I knew pretty much where the story was going early on, and much of the ride getting there was dull. At about the midway point I wanted the book to end, never a good sign. This is nowhere near the best sci fi novel ever written. All I can say is that Heinlein needed to read some more books. Not recommended. Read Ringworld instead if you want to try Larry Niven.
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on 31 January 2017
I've read this in paperback a hundred times. Whoever did the e format rushed the job. What was an excellent story is now ruined by poor editing in which paragraphs are merged to the confusion of the reader
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on 17 May 2012
Most reviewers seem to have read this book as a younger person and look back on it through rose tinted glasses. I didn't have that pleasure. To me, it's dated, the style is hackneyed and the characterisation is negligible. The first contact is interesting, but the style - or lack of it - impeded my enjoyment. It's a shame - I feel I have missed out on something as other namechecked sci-fi such as 'Dune' remain firm favourites of mine - you guessed, I read them whilst younger. I'd agree with the Kindle age guide and recommend this book only for the younger reader who would perhaps be swept along by the narrative, for sadly, there's little much else to enjoy. One for - and from - the vaults.
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on 5 November 2013
I moved onto this book on a recommendation from a friend. I enjoy quite plausible science fiction (like the Sci-fi in The right shorts for lunch (short stories) to 'pew pew lasers' type science fiction romps and this taste is answered effectively by 'The Mote in the God's eye'.

As with a lot of sci-fi this book takes a long time to gain momentum, but there's a lot of back story to bring the reader up to date on. The basis of the story is set around 1000 years from now, man has populated a fairly large chunk of the Universe but is yet to find other non-human civilisations. A situation that is about to change in ways that at first appear quite subtle.

I think this book possible appears to date itself in some of the ways social attitudes are expressed, although I think that may be a deliberate comment on opinions and beliefs are often incompatible with the reality of an intellectually and (allegedly) sociologically developing humanity.

The type of 'payoff' this book offers the reader is something that I have not experienced in other sci-fi. It was quite refreshing and helped turn what at first felt like quite a turgid slog of a book into one that I will likely re-read at some point in the not too distant future.

In summary The Mote in the God's eye was a bit of a slog, but worth the effort. I'm now half-way through reading the sequel The Gripping Hand (The Mote Series) which should stand as an indicator of how I really felt about this book.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 January 2011
I liked this book very much, for many reasons:

- it is REALLY interesting and I couldn't stop reading it

- the alien civilization (Moties) is really alien and very different from ours and as consequence the "First Contact" is a moment of great mutual shock for both parties

- the story mixes the right amount of hard science with author's fantasy and of tragedy with humor

- there is no usual human bashing and inferiority complex ("oh no, we are savages and they are so civilized, how can the aliens like us?") to the contrary, both humans and aliens have their dark and shameful secrets

- there is no usual division between bad politicians/soldiers and good scientists/journalists - here the politicians and soldiers are at least as clever and as reasonable as scientists (and sometimes more); I also really appreciated the fact that a great deal of conversations were about future trade between species

- a particularly strong point is the presence of a Christian priest between humans and his important participation in the "First Contact" (a very welcome change from the usual Christian and Church bashing in SF)

- the hint of the past history of humanity since XX century until the "First Contact" is extremely funny and the synthesis between USA and Soviet Union in a common monarchy is totally irresistible..)))

- the ending of the book is very clever and very different from what one could expect after reading most of other (and lesser) SF books on "First Contact"

In conclusion, I warmly encourage you to discover this great classic of Science Fiction - it is worth it! One advice to finish - read it ATTENTIVELY as every detail has its importance and what happens in the first 100 pages will take a very great significance in the last 50...
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